There are times when one turns on the television and hears stories that seem to be beyond human comprehension. The story of the three girls being kept captive for ten years in a Cleveland home falls into the category. It turns one’s stomach to think that a human being could do such things to another member of their race. Well, just when the story starts to fade from the national consciousness, another sickening tale of woe seems to be taking its place.
Three people, and possibly a fourth, have been indicted on charges of forced labor. The three known participants, 26-year-old Jordie Callahan, 31-year-old Jessica Hunt and 33-year-old Daniel Brown, are being accused of some things that many will find hard to stomach. The three people held a mentally disabled woman and her young daughter captive.
Why did these people do this? There were several reasons given by authorities for their actions. The first was that the woman was receiving government benefits for her disability, something that her captors took in an effort to get painkillers and other drugs. The money was not the only reason that these two females were being held. Their three captors also forced them to be their slaves in a sense. The disabled woman was made to clean the residence, feed the animals, and go to the store to do shopping.
One might ask, why would the woman not go to a cop while she was out doing the shopping. Well, the three accused had that covered. They basically coerced the woman into cooperation. When she left the place, they would keep her daughter behind, threatening to do her harm if she did not return or did something that brought attention to them.
Authorities were quoted as saying that the conditions in which the two detainees were kept were beyond subhuman. Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, was quoted by CNN as saying, “”(We’re) talking about people who were locked in rooms, forced to work all the time, people who were threatened and beaten and injured, people who were exploited, people who had their money and benefits stolen, sort of used as pawns to get drugs. And the worst part of all this is, you know, they tried to rob the victims of their basic human dignity. So almost everything they did was to prey on them, prey on their vulnerabilities and exploit them.”
What put the police on to this caper was the mentally disabled woman getting picked up for trying to shoplift a candy bar. As the authorities dug deeper into her background, they discovered this ugly story. For their part, the three deny any wrong-doing. Callahan’s mother says this is all a misunderstanding. Her son took in the two, who needed a place to stay. She mentioned that the woman was able to leave numerous times, so how could she be a captive? Well, perhaps having to eat dog food and being threatened with pit bulls qualifies as troubling aspects that back up the young lady’s case.